2020 continues to bring good fortune for Laval as they picked up two more wins to double their win streak while they’re also poised to get some help on the injury front.
The Week That Was
Jan. 3: Rocket 4, Phantoms 0 – Even though Laval has been banged up, this was certainly a winnable game considering how much Lehigh Valley has struggled this season. They didn’t play down to the level of their opponent and jumped on them early with Jake Evans and Charles Hudon scoring in the first period and that was all the support that Cayden Primeau needed as he picked up his second shutout of the season.
Jan. 4: Rocket 3, Crunch 2 – Laval didn’t start as strong in this one; they only had one shot in the whole first period. (The good news is that it went in and they were up 1-0 after 20 minutes.) PTO players Yannick Veilleux and Ralph Cuddemi continue to be productive as they each scored in the third to give them a three-goal lead. However, holding big leads has been a struggle for them and they nearly blew another one as Syracuse scored a pair on Keith Kinkaid in the back half of the frame but that was as close as they got as Laval held on for the win despite being more than doubled up in shots (35-15).
Goals: Charles Hudon (16)
Assists: Jake Evans (17)
Points: Barber/Evans (25)
+/-: Noah Juulsen (+5)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (50)
Shots: Charles Hudon (90)
News And Notes
– For the first time in a while, Laval actually got some help from the Habs with the return of Riley Barber (plus Lukas Vejdemo who was assigned on Wednesday).
– Veteran winger Garrett Mitchell signed a PTO while centre James Phelan was released from his tryout.
– Phil Varone is hoping to return sometime this week while William Pelletier is off to ECHL Maine on a conditioning stint so he’s close to coming back as well.
– Recently acquired winger Andrew Sturtz is dealing with nerve issues in his shoulder and is out indefinitely.
Last Game’s Lines:
Hudon – Evans – Barber
Veilleux – McCarron – Cox
Alain – Lynch – Cuddemi
Pezzetta – Jevpalovs – Mitchell
Olofsson – Ouellet
Leskinen – McEneny
Alzner – Brook
The Week Ahead
Jan. 10: at Syracuse – It’s safe to say that the Crunch will be looking for some revenge after Laval basically stole one from them over the weekend. Tampa’s injury situation (or lack thereof) has pushed Mathieu Joseph from a regular role with the Lightning to a top spot with Syracuse which has helped bolster a deep attack.
Jan. 11: at Lehigh Valley – Not much has changed since they last met a week ago other than them moving into a tie for last in the Atlantic instead of being last outright. The Phantoms can’t score so this is a game Laval needs to get.
Jan. 12: at Bridgeport – Speaking of that team that Lehigh Valley is now tied with for last, it’s the Sound Tigers. They’re the second-lowest scoring team in the league and their top scorer (Sebastian Aho – the Swedish one, not the one the Habs offer sheeted) was recently brought up to the Islanders. They should have Oliver Wahlstrom back after his stint in the World Juniors where he teamed up with Montreal prospects Cole Caufield and Jordan Harris.
The recent trade of Michael McCarron should come as little surprise as it was more than time for a change of scenery for both sides. At the beginning of his tenure, Marc Bergevin was quick to pull the trigger on trades for people that had no future with the organization (anyone remember the Brendon Nash for Jason DeSantis or Steve Quailer for Robert Czarnik deals?) but that hasn’t been the case as of late. It’s nice to see him get back to that here.
Is Laurent Dauphin going to amount to much? Probably not although I think he has a bit more offensive upside than McCarron does. But unlike McCarron who seemingly burned his bridges a while back (and his actions against Utica last month didn’t help), Dauphin could actually be recalled at some point to log a few minutes on the fourth line. If it works out, perhaps he’s amenable to signing for next season and if not, it’s not as if McCarron was going to be signed to another deal anyway. Sometimes, a trade for the sake of a trade can be useful. This appears to be one of those situations.